Network Cabling Companies Struggling After Sandy

Hurricane Sandy hit hard and her effects are still being felt by many, especially in New York City. The entire downtown region of Manhattan was basically impassable and thousands were without power. On Monday October 29th, Con Ed cut power to lower Manhattan as an attempt to save the power grid while thirteen feet of storm surge assaulted the city. Con Ed has been working around the clock, and while most facilities have been able to regain heat and lights, data center providers and web hosts are still experiencing issues with their systems.

Most data center operators were prepared enough to have generators, unfortunately, even the generators aren’t fool proof. The NY8 data center for Equinix had to deal with a failed generator, that not only affected their customers, but the other businesses in the building that shared the generator infrastructure and fuel service. NY8 is now up and working, but Equinix reports that five of its locations in the New York/New Jersey area are still running on generator power. They are relying on fuel deliveries to keep the system functioning.

Many data center sites who have experienced basement or sub-basement flooding are finding that the water has ruined the diesel fuel pumps, which means no fuel is being pumped through to the generators. Internap, with an office on 75 Broad Street in downtown Manhattan, issued apologies to its many customers, stating that although their contingency plans allowed for five hours of fuel reserves to keep the power running for sufficient reaction time, they did not account for submerged fuel pumps.

The full list of network and data centers in the city that lost power is still unknown. Outages have been reported from Cogent, HoneLive, XO Communications, ColoCrossing, InterServer and Atlantic Metro, just to give an idea of the scope of this issue. SteadFast’s facility at 121 Varick Street lost peer due to an auxiliary electrical failure. They are working to assist customers in the meantime and have promised to honor full SLA credits for the times that power has been non-existent in the facility.

In an attempt to lend a helping hand, Telehouse America is opening its colocation space in New York City to those companies that need to move their servers to another location for a short term. Telehouse has three different data center facilities in the area, one on lower Broadway, one in Chelsea, and one in Staten Island. They have opened up their cabinets on a one month to sixty day temporary basis.

Hibernia Atlantic, a submarine cable provider, has also been reaching out to help those affected by Sandy. While their network has been completely operational throughout the storm, due to the landing stations being in locations not devastatingly impacted by Sandy, Hibernia has been offering redundant services and rerouting options for other partners and customers.

One week after Hurricane Sandy, almost everyone has power back, and most network cabling companies are operating with full resources. In the long run, it looks like Sandy was a hard lesson in backup and contingency plans.